Charlie Lovett was born in Winston-Salem, NC in 1962 and grew up as the child of a book-collecting English professor. He spent his summers in the rural North Carolina mountains and felt an early affinity for the countryside. He was educated at Summit School, Woodberry Forest School (Virginia), and Davidson College (NC) and in 1984 went into the antiquarian book business with his first wife, Stephanie. About the same time he began to seriously collect books and other materials relating to Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Lovett now has a large collection of Carrollian rare books and artifacts, including Carroll’s 1888 typewriter and one of six privately owned copies of the first edition of Alice in Wonderland. Lovett has written or edited nine books about Lewis Carroll, including Lewis Carroll: Formed by Faith, the first full length study of Carroll’s religious life (UVA Press, 2021). He has served as the president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, as editor of the London based Lewis Carroll Review, and has lectured on Carroll in the US and Europe at the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, UCLA, Oxford University, and elsewhere.
In 1997 Lovett received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). During his work on this degree he researched and wrote Love, Ruth, a book about his mother, Ruth Candler Lovett, who died when he was two years old. Maya Angelou called the book “tender, sensitive, and true.”
After completing his MFA, Lovett lived with his wife Janice and daughter Jordan in England for six months, becoming closely connected to the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire. Ten years later, he and his wife purchased the cottage they had rented in 1997 and renovated it. They now spend about 6–8 week a year in Kingham, and have traveled extensively throughout the UK. His experiences in England are the basis for several of his novels.
For eleven years, beginning in 2001, Lovett served as Writer-in-Residence at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. He wrote plays for elementary and middle school students, nineteen of which have been published, including, Twinderella, which was chosen from over 750 entries as winner of the Shubert Fendrich Playwriting Award. His plays have been seen in over 5000 productions in all fifty states and more than 20 foreign countries. Lovett often makes author visits to schools to see productions, talk with students, and hold master classes.
Lovett’s break-through as a fiction writer came when he combined two of his passions—rare books and the English countryside—to write the Shakespearean mystery The Bookman’s Tale (Viking/Penguin, 2013), a New York Times bestseller and Barnes and Noble Recommends selection which has been translated into several foreign languages. Parade Magazine called the book “[A] delightful tale of love and bibliophilia.” His next novel, First Impressions (Viking/Penguin, 2014) was another literary adventure, this one starring Jane Austen. People Magazine called it “a delightful novel that weaves together a modern love story and a literary mystery involving Jane Austen.”
In 2015 Lovett curated a major exhibition called Alice Live! at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and wrote the introduction to the new Penguin Books edition of Alice in Wonderland. 2015 also saw the publication of his Christmas book, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge (Viking/Penguin) which USA Today called “[a] clever, merry, and, yes, convincingly Dickensian reimagining of this Victorian tale.”
Lovett’s novel The Lost Book of the Grail (Viking/Penguin, 2017) is set in an English cathedral library, reaches through centuries of English history, and tells the story of bibliophile and Holy Grail enthusiast Arthur Prescott as he works to uncover a secret about the cathedral’s history. Bustle called it “The one book every bibliophile needs to read.”
Lovett’s most recent novel, Escaping Dreamland (Blackstone, 2020), is a book about four authors in New York City. Much of the book is set in the early 20th century, and explores not just historic New York, but the lives of three young people writing series books for children (think The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew). The book is an homage to the books of our childhood, to New York City, and above all to love and friendship.
Lovett’s middle grade adventure, The Book of the Seven Spells (Month 9, 2021), about four children who discover a magical library, will come out in the spring and he is currently working on the second volume in that series.
When not visiting his cottage in Kingham, Charlie Lovett lives in Winston-Salem with his wife Janice. They have two grown children, Jordan and Jimmy.